09/01/2019 The Department of Physics & Astronomy welcomes Dr. Charli Sakari as a new Assistant Professor of Astronomy. Dr. Sakari is an expert on galactic archaeology, the study of the oldest, most pristine stars in the universe. Dr. Sakari uses these old stars to probe the formation of the chemical elements over time, including those that eventually form planetary systems, and ultimately, us. Charli will teach PHYS 240: General Physics with Calculus III (thermodynamics, waves, optics) and ASTR 770: Astronomical Techniques for Research.
09/01/2019 The Department of Physics & Astronomy welcomes Dr. John Michael Brewer as a new Assistant Professor of Astronomy. Dr. Brewer is an expert on exoplanetary science, the search for and characterization of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. Dr. Brewer is also a leader of the 100 Earths Project which seeks to find, well, 100 Earth-like habitable planets in the nearby solar neighborhood. John Michael will teach ASTR 400/700: Stellar Astrophysics and ASTR 405: Exoplanetary Science.
05/01/2017 A recent paper by Physics and Astronomy professor, Stephen Kane, has been highlighted by the American Astronomical Society The paper is entitled "Worlds without Moons: Exomoon Constraints for Compact Planetary Systems" and has been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The paper shows that terrestrial planets in compact systems cannot, in most cases, harbor a moon and describes the implications for habitability.
04/11/2017 Dr. Chen's lab in collaboration with Dr. Xu, a recent hire in the Physics Department, have recently published a paper in Optics Letters, reporting on the soliton-mediated orientational ordering of gold nanorods in a colloidal plasmonic suspension. The paper is entitled "Soliton-mediated orientational ordering of gold nanorods and birefringence in plasmonic suspensions" and the full version is available here.
01/02/2017 12 students from 7 NUPAC campuses (Channel Islands, Fresno, Humboldt, Northridge, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Sonoma) sent in their applications to work at CERN on ATLAS experiment during summer of 2017. One of the selected students is SFSU Physics & Astronomy student Brandon Gunn. Congratulations Brandon!
10/27/2016 A paper produced primarily by SFSU students and their advisor, AKM Newaz, has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. The results shed light on defect-induced excitonic properties as well as offer an attractive route to tailoring the optical properties attransition-metal dichalcogenides edges through defect engineering. The paper is entitled "Visualization of Defect-Induced Excitonic Properties of the Edges and Grain Boundaries in Synthesized Monolayer Molybdenum Disulfide" and the full version is available here. Congratulations to Newaz and his team!
10/23/2016 Professor Roger Bland and his student Bruce Laughlin recently published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. The paper is entitled "Remote sensing of nearshore wave interference" and is available here. Congratulations to Roger and Bruce!
09/01/2016 Members of Professor Zhigang Chen's lab, (Trevor S. Kelly, Yu-Xuan Ren, Akbar Samadi, Anna Bezryadina, Demetrios Christodoulides, and Zhigang Chen) recently published a paper in the OSA journal Optics Letters. The title of the paper is "Guiding and nonlinear coupling of light in plasmonic nanosuspensions" and is available here. The lead author is Trevor Kelly, a physics graduate student at SFSU. Congratulations to Trevor, Zhigang, and the rest of the team!
08/31/2016 We are thrilled to welcome two new faculy to the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Kim Coble is an astronomer whose primary research lies in the area of physics education. Huizhong Xu is an experimental physicist who works on the topic of quantum computing and nanomaterials. Welcome Kim and Huizhong!
06/02/2016 The Department of Physics and Astronomy is delighted to award the Michael and Greta McKinney Scholarship to Megan Tangonan. Megan is a theater major turned physics major who discovered astronomy when taking Astronomy 115 in Spring 2013. She promptly switched her major to the BS in Physics with a Concentration in Astrophysics, and over the past three years has accumulated an outstanding academic record. Megan has also done exemplary work as an SFSU Observatory docent for the past year and a half, enabling visitors to view planets, stars and nebulae from the roof of Thornton Hall. During this time, Megan discovered a passion for communicating science and has decided to pursue a career in teaching. She will be joining CSME's Teacher Fellow program in the fall. Congratulations, Megan!
05/11/2016 Physics graduate student Shervin Sahba won first place in the physical science division of the SFSU COSE Student Project Showcase. His research was entitled "Hyperuniform Disordered Photonics: Novel means to manipulate light." His advisor is faculty member Weining Man. Congratulations Shervin!
05/03/2016 Physics undergraduate student Alexander Yore has won first place in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences category of the CSU Student Research Competition hosted at CSU Bakersfield. His research title was "Giant Blue Shifted Photoluminescence Peak from Edges of Atomically Thin Semiconductors" and he is advised by faculty member AKM Newaz. Congratulations Alexander!
04/28/2016 Congratulations to Astronomy student Colin Chandler for winning the College of Science & Engineering (COSE) Associated Students Inc (ASI) award. For details about Project Connect can be found here.
02/26/2016 The research of Astronomy student Colin Chandler and Professor Stephen Kane has been featured on the website of the American Astronomical Society. The research resulted in the creation of a new catalog (CELESTA) to aid in the search for habitable planets outside of our solar system. The technical paper can be found here.
11/25/2015 Congratulations to Physics Professor, Zhigeng Chen, for being elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. The honor was bestowed "For seminal contributions on spatial solitons, photonic lattices, and beam shaping, and for promoting world-class research at an undergraduate institution."
11/10/2015 Congratulations to our newly formed Women in Physics and Astronomy club for winning an American Physical Society grant! Lecturer Dr. Reiko Toriumi has initiated the formation of the group this fall semester, and Physics graduate student Violeta Grigorescu, the president of WIPAA @ SFSU made it possible to win the APS fund. The aim of the group is to build a support community for our current physics and astronomy female students, and to improve recruitment and retention of women in physics through activities such as: inviting guest speakers, visiting local research laboratories, lunch discussions and social events.
10/29/2015 Astronomy student Ryan Vaught has won this years McKinney Scholarship award. The purpose of The Michael and Greta McKinney Scholarship is to assist promising SF State Senior undergraduate students in Physics & Astronomy, demonstrating outstanding academic merit and financial need. Congratulations Ryan!
10/20/2015 A research paper by Astronomy student Colin Chandler has been accepted for publication by the Astronomical Journal. The paper presents a new target selection catalog designed for surveys that aim to probe the Habitable Zone of nearby/bright host stars. The paper is entitled "The Catalog of Earth-Like Exoplanet Survey TArgets (CELESTA): A Database of Habitable Zones around Nearby Stars" and is available here.

10/16/2015 Congratulations to our prize winning graduate students Kai Chung, Justin Wittrock, and Manav Singh! Kai and Justin are the recipients of this years Department Research Award which honors excellence in Physics or Astronomy research. Manav is the recipient of this years Chau Award, a research award in memory of Peter Chau. All three of our winners have shown outstanding progress in their research projects and we look forward to watching their accomplishments and careers develop.
10/05/2015 Physics & Astronomy graduate student, Trevor Kelly, has won third prize at the COSE Student Project Showcase. Trevor's research lies in optics and is being undertaken as a part of Zhigang Chen's Optics Research Lab. The poster describing Trevor's work is available here. Congratulations Trevor!
08/11/2015 Physics & Astronomy graduate student, Farzad Faramarzi, has received a Robert W. Maxwell Memorial Scholarship. The award is provided to outstanding students in the College of Science and Engineering. Congratulations Farzad!
06/01/2015 Congratulations to Physics & Astronomy graduate student, Shervin Sahba, who has received an ARCS Scholarship. The ARCS Foundation provides scholarships to exceptional students to provide them with the needed support to help them grow in their scientific careers.
05/12/2015 Two of our Physics & Astronomy Graduate Teaching Assistants, Daniel McKeown and Manav Singh, have been awarded the AAPT oustanding teaching assistant awards. Congratulations Daniel and Manav!
9/1/2014 Dr. Natalie Hinkel has created the largest database of stellar abundances of nearby stars. The enormous collection, which Hinkel named the Hypatia Catalog, contains data for more than 3,000 stars within 500 light years of the sun, and will aid research in exoplanet science and stellar astrophysics, as well as help the public learn more about the properties and history of stars in the Milky Way.
7/25/2014 For those interested in learning more about the habitable zone---the region around a star where liquid water (and hence, life) might exist---a talk at the SETI institute by Dr. Kane is now online. Dr. Kane discusses the current state of exoplanet detections in the habitable zone, along the way attempting to dispel some common misconceptions regarding this important topic.
5/14/2014 Congratulations to Angela Berti, Adam Fries, and Eileen Gonzales for their performance at the COSE Graduate Student Research Showcase. Ms. Berti won third place in the physical science division for her work on dark matter in galaxy clusters with Dr. Mahdavi, while Mr. Fries and Ms. Gonzales won honorable mention for their work with Dr. Cool on the commissioning of the telescope at Leuschner observatory.
4/26/2014 Dr. Linda Shore---a graduate of our Master's program, holder of an Ed. D. from Harvard University, faculty at the University of San Francisco, and Director of the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium---was recently appointed the executive director of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
3/13/2014 Dr. AKM Newaz of Vanderbilt University---an expert on nanoscale devices for understanding and tailoring next-generation 2D materials such as graphene and Molybdenum disulfide---will move to SF State in fall 2014 to become our newest assistant professor of physics. Please join us in welcoming him to the department!
1/5/2014 A team led by SF State astronomer Stephen Kane has discovered a new giant planet located in a star system within the Pisces constellation. The planet, perhaps twice the mass of Jupiter, could help researchers learn more about how extrasolar planets are formed, and is described in an accompanying paper.
12/15/2013 A team led by our faculty members, Weining Man and Zhigang Chen, has developed a novel soft-matter system made of colloidal suspensions, which present unique nonlinear optical properties. Laser beams passing them can self-focus without diffraction as well as self-induce transparency. This work is in close collaboration with Dr. Demetrios N. Christodoulides at CREOL/Univ.of Central Florida. One of their papers, Optical Nonlinearities and Enhanced Light Transmission in Soft-Matter Systems with Tunable Polarizabilitie, is published in the Nov. 22, 2013 issue of Physical Review Letters and picked by the editor as a featured synopsis. Read more in the university press release.
10/4/2013 The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce a new Concentration in Physics for Teaching, added to our B.S. in Physics degree. The new concentration provides a well-defined pathway for SFSU students to become high-school physics teachers. Students in the program will pursue a rigorous curriculum in physics, study related sciences and/or additional mathematics to broaden their preparation, and apply their science knowledge by sharing it with K-12 teachers and students through a built-in classroom experience. Mentoring and financial support for students interested in becoming teachers is available through the Teacher Fellow program run by SFSU's Center for Science and Mathematics Education. The new program will enable more SFSU physics and astronomy students to explore science teaching as a career path, and give them the solid grounding needed to become effective teachers. Read more in the university press release .
9/25/2013 Undergraduate Stefanie Torres is the winner of a prestigious American Physical Society Minority Scholarship. Only forty scholarships were awarded nationwide. Congratulations!
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